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unlikefanpage Gaining fans is hard, keeping them interested and engaged is even harder! If you're actively marketing your business through a Facebook fan page, you've most likely experienced (and are still experiencing) the phenomenon I like to call fan bleeding. In this article I'll try to cover what this phenomenon is, why it happens and suggest some ideas on how to minimze the damage.

Why does it happen?

Many reasons, but let's look at some of the most popular ones: 1) You posted something that wasn't interesting/relevant to your audience. 2) You posted something that offended some fans. 3) You post too often. 4) You post too much promotional or commercial stuff. You're too aggressively pushing your products/services . 5) You never respond to your fans' comments. Your fan page is a one-way street. You're broadcasting, not listening. 6) You delete/ignore negative comments. 7) You're posting repetitive stuff, re-hashing old news. 8) You gained most of your fans through a one-time contest or giveaway you ran ages ago, and you haven't run any since.

Post-By-Post Diagnosis

While the above questions can help point you in the right direction, a look at the numbers will either validate or refute your suspicions. Facebook Insights has greatly improved in the past few years. Back in 2010, Facebook barely provided fan page owners with barely any data. We had to rely on third party tools to get some stats. Today, Facebook Insights will provide you with all the metrics you need to diagnose the quality of your posts. Screenshot_1 Under your Facebook Insights, go to Posts, then select "Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, Unlikes" under the drop down menu to the right. This will immediately add a new column called "Negative Feedback". Screenshot_2 This column will help you determine what type of posts generate the most negative feedback. Take these results with a grain of salt though, as sometimes the numbers there are not statistically significant. It is important to analyze the numbers over a long period of time before coming up with any conclusion.

Adjust Your Tone and A/B Test Different Types of Content

Your learnings from the diagnosis part should help you lay out a new content strategy. The idea here is to post more of what works, less of what doesn't. Pretty straightforward huh? Also, don't be afraid to try new things. For instance, have you tried posting relevant videos, infographics or images? Don't be afraid to think outside the box. People respond well to multimedia content, especially if it relates to current events. Don't be one of those boring businesses that only share their own blog posts. And if you do share a blog post, ask a question while sharing the post to encourage engagement. Don't be afraid of negative feedback, as it's definitely better than no feedback. Negative feedback will help you improve and will show your fans that you care and encourage the dialogue. Remember that Facebook is not a marketing platform. Businesses are only tolerated. People login mainly to keep in touch with their friends. They don't want their newsfeed to be overloaded with commercial content. Be personable and act like a human being to ensure your posts get the best results.

Reward Your Fans

This part is especially important if you are among the brands that gained a large amount of fans through some kind of giveaway, contest or sweepstake. carrotLaunching fan-gated contests is an old strategy that still works today, but unfortunately it brings you the type of fans that: (a) like free stuff OR (b) like to win stuff. These are VERY different from fans that liked your page because they enjoy your products/services or like your content. Fans that come through giveaways or contests are not exactly real fans (at least not yet) so you need to keep rewarding them to create brand awareness and recognition. (Anyways, this is another topic and I'll write an article about dealing with the different types of fans in a future post. :)) If you're not to sure how to reward your fans, consider the following ideas:
  • Run a photo/video/comment contest
  • Run a trivia/quiz
  • Provide exclusive coupons/vouchers
  • Run a monthly giveaway where you give a freebie to a randomly selected fan
  • Run a caption it or fill-in-the-blank contest
  • Run a "share a quote" contest
As far as prizes go, it is better to give away one of your products or services as this might turn fans into future clients. If offering one of your products is not an option, consider a promotional item such as a tshirt/hat/calendar, or a gift certificate on a popular website like Amazon or eBay. You can also simply offer a cash prize!

Fan Bleeding is Unavoidable, Focus on Fan Acquisition!

Let me get one thing straight: even if you improve the quality of your posts and reward your fans, you will occasionally lose fans. It is impossible to completely avoid. I like to compare losing fans to occasionally dropping down a few spots on Google for a specific keyword. It's just something you can't control, you just have to learn to deal with it and work for the long term. Lastly, it may hurt to occasionally  lose a few fans, but it hurts less if you offset this loss by having a long term fan acquisition strategy. Promoting your fan page through Facebook Ads (with a daily budget) is a fantastic way to gain new fans, but one of my favorite tactics is to promote the best quality posts. I like targeting "friends of fans" or "people similar to your fans" (see screenshot below). The beauty of the promoted posts feature is that you have full control fo your budget and targeting options. Start with a low budget (say $5-$10) to see how people respond to the post. If the post seems to create an unusual high amount of enthusiasm and engagement, bump your budget to expand your reach and create a "viral effect". facebooktargeting You have any suggestions, comments or additional fan page marketing tips you'd like to share? Comment below!
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